Once upon a time (1976) I had a talk . . . well not really a very coherent talk, but a sort of talk with Bruce Springsteen. He won't remember it but it's burned in
my memory all right.
During the making of "Blinded by the Light" I realised that it was possible to sing the chorus and the verse simultaneously on the Outro and I was really
excited about this, as there are hardly any songs where this is practicable and I felt it could work very well. But, we had in Manfred Mann's Earth Band at
that time only one lead singer, Chris Thompson, so we were a singer short, because this ending required two singers to sing at the same time. One
afternoon the bold answer to this problem came to me. 'Why not', I thought, ask Bruce Springsteen to sing the end verse lines while Chris sings the chorus.
But I wasn't sure he'd agree to do it. But I was proud of myself, it was a clever and very nice thought, if he agreed - wonderful, and if he didn't - nothing was lost.
I simply cannot for the life of me thing of the reason that I decided to call Springsteen myself, rather than have a manager or record company person make
the arrangement. Perhaps I thought he might respond more positively to a direct approach from another musician. I have generally found that middlemen are
far too protective and difficult to deal with. Anyway for whatever reason the day came when I was given the Hotel phone number where Bruce was staying and I prepared myself for the call.
'Hello Bruce' - 'Who is this?'
'It's Manfred Mann'
'Really . . . No kidding'
'Wow Manfred, I can't believe it. I've always loved your stuff and the way you've developed over the years, also your unique Moog playing. How can I help?'
'Well Bruce, I'm recording Blinded By The Light'
'God! That's fantastic - what a tribute to my songwriting, Gee what an accolade. I'm really proud, Wow!'
'Well I was kind of hoping that you might sing on the end of the track'
'Gee Manfred, don't say another word. Of course I will'
Not really . . .
What actually happened was . . .
RING - RING - RING - RING - RING - RING - RING - RING
Obviously he's not there, I'll put the phone down. I'm wrong. A voice answers, as if woken from a 200 year coma.
Oh God I've woken him up!
'Is that Bruce?' I say hoping desperately that it isn't Bruce, that its the wrong room or wrong hotel, but its not my day
'NNNNNNNGGGGGGGGYEH man, what do you want?'
'Oh, um, er, nothing, forget it, I'll call later'
I never called back. I did the end vocal myself. 9 months later the record was number 1 in the US and a major hit single around the world. Still, I always think
that it would have been wonderful with a Springsteen vocal at the end.